Apple Senior Vice President Dan Riccio cashed in 20,726 shares of stock in the last two days, a transaction that netted him roughly US$10.3 million and an unnamed charity another half a million dollars. The recently promoted Mr. Riccio sold 19,726 shares of stock for himself, and gave the other 1,000 shares to charity.
Mr. Riccio exercised half of those shares as options in October, when they were worth considerably more, and he holds at least another 75,000 shares that vest over the next three years. Those shares were a bonus that went with his promotion to senior vice president of hardware engineering in August of this year.
Analysts and traders often look to insider activity for hints about top executives and director sentiment about their company. With Mr. Riccio recently promoted to the ranks of the super wealthy, it might be harder to read the tea leaves of this transaction.
On the one hand, selling almost 21,000 shares when the stock is down 25 percent from its high in not quite two months might suggest a lack of confidence in his company's prospects. On the other hand, as we mentioned, he's recently promoted to the ranks of the super wealthy and may simply need to buy a new house in keeping with his status.
A quick look shows that board member Arthur D. Levinson and General Counsel Bruce Sewell have both sold shares (7,500 and 10,725, respectively) in the last month. An officer named Jeffrey Williams also sold 4,014 shares in October. It has otherwise been a slow last several months or insider selling, suggesting that executive sentiment remains robust.
Shares of $AAPL closed slightly higher on Friday at $527.678, a gain of $2.058 (+0.39 percent), on very heavy volume of 45.2 million shares trading hands.
Thanks to CNet for the heads up on Mr. Riccio's transaction.
*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a tiny, almost insignificant share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.